Updated: Sep 19
Lentils are the legumes that form an essential part of the pantry of every household in India. Can you imagine your meals with your dals – the dals that are often consumed with rice and/or rotis, chapatis and fulkas? Statistically, Canada is the country with maximum consumption of lentils, India comes second in this list, followed by Turkey, Nepal and Australia. (recorded in the book World – Lentils – Market, Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Impacts). Some of the commonly used lentils are green moong dal (split green gram), yellow moong dal (split yellow gram), urad dal (split black gram), chana dal (split chickpeas) and toor dal (split pigeon peas).
Lentils are not just ingredients to delicious dishes but also contain high levels of proteins and fibres. They form an essential part of the plant-based foods and thus, are known to reduce the risk of many health conditions that are associated with our lifestyle like heart diseases, cholesterol problems and blood pressure. (Lentils in your food, Healthy lifestyle in your hood!) Along with antioxidants, they contain appropriate levels of vitamins and minerals that are required for a balanced living. For vegetarians, they are a perfect replacement for meat and other poultry products. It helps fight fatigue, improves digestion and prevents constipation. Basically it is a complete package of good health.
History Fact: Lentils have been consumed by humans since the Neolithic Ages. Lentil soup was called “the sweetest of delicacies” by Greek playwright Aristophanes. It was also called ‘the poor man’s meat’ in the Catholic countries of Europe.
It is said that Egyptians buried lentils in their tomb around 2400 B.C. In the Middle East, lentil cultivation dated back to 8000 years. Until the 17th century, lentils was a part of the poor man’s diet. However, by the 18th century, King Louis XV’s wife was the one who made this popular among the royalty. In India, the first evidence of lentils can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilisation, as their staple food. It is also believed that a special ‘dal’ was used in the wedding of Chandragupta Maurya in 303 B.C. A dish called ‘panchmel’ was cooked during the Mughal Era and in Mewar, which is a combination of moong dal, chana dal, masoor dal, toor dal and urad dal.
Here’s a list of the lentils you should add to your cart –
1. Green Moong dal (Split Green Gram): With a mild earthy flavor, green moong dal is rich in Folic acid which helps the body maintain the red blood cells count. Rich in antioxidants, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, aids in weight loss, builds immunity and has a low glycemic index. Green moong dal forms an essential part of traditional Indian cooking. This low fat gram makes it appearance in dishes like dosas, cheelas, halwa, kachoris, takda dal In combination with other dals) the very famous Gujarati Handvo, or can be fusioned to make pancakes and waffles.
Taru’s Products – Split Unpolished Handpounded Desi Chilka Green Gram
2. Yellow Moong Dal (Split Yellow Gram): A kin to green moong dal, it is packed with proteins and dietary fibres. Easily digestible for the sick, its khichdi is given to patients recovering from acute illnesses. This variety of dal makes its way into your kitchen in dishes, widely spanning from khichdis to halwas, tadka dals, dal fry, the South Indian Kosmalli and also (in a few Asian countries) in ice-creams. It is also a primary ingredient in special dosas and idlis and mouth watering parathas!
Taru’s Products – Moong Dal Flour
3. Urad Dal (Split Black Gram): High fibre and rich in phosphorous and calcium, urad dal is suitable for diabetic patients and a good source of vegetarian protein. It is a heart healthy, immunity building dal often used for weight loss. In your day-to-day kitchen, urad dal forms an integral part in grinding the batters for dosa, idli, wada and as a tempering agent in a lot of South Indian dishes. It is also has as a snack when combined with tomatoes, fried onions and garlic (kinda like bhel, but a healthier version!).
Taru’s Products – Urad Dal Chilka
4. Toor Dal (Split Pigeon Peas): Also known as tuvar dal, aahar dal and thuvaram paruppu, Toor dal is a protein rich gram that helps with muscle building. It is super nutritious – high fibre, low fat and cholesterol free. You can find toor dal in dishes like dal tadka, appam, puran poli and the list continues. One can definitely find toor dal in a Gujarati household kitchen in a sweet and sour dish called Gujarati Dal that is often had with side dishes like rice or rotli.
Taru’s Products – Handpounded Desi Toor Dal, Unpolished
5. Chana Dal (Split Chickpeas/ Bengal Gram): Popularly used in the Indian subcontinent, chana dal controls blood vessel damage and lowers inflammation. It is rich in proteins, antioxidants, folic acid and B-Complex vitamins and aids managing blood sugar levels and blood pressure. The dishes that have chana dal as a primary ingredient are dholkas, bhurji, dal tadka, dal tikki and curries.
Taru’s Products – Chana Dal
So let’s hurry up, add these lentils to our cart and enjoy health and taste together!
- Shruthi Narayan.